Thousands of walrus have appeared on Alaska’s northwest coast in what conservationists were calling a dramatic consequence of global warming melting the Arctic sea ice, reported The Advertiser: (8/10/2007, p. 29) from Anchorage, Alaska.
Archive for the ‘Climate’ Category
Posted by waterweek on 17 October 2007
Labor offers Fed cash to Horticulture Australia to identify priority climate-research objectives to start 2009
Posted by waterweek on 12 October 2007
Federal Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Kerry O’Brien, last Friday announced that if Labor was elected to government there would be additional measures to help agriculture adjust to the impact of climate change, reported The Canberra Times (4/10/2007, p.36).
9 October: Lismore hit by hail the size of tennis balls as supercells form over NSW Northern Rivers and parts of Northern Tablelands
Posted by waterweek on 10 October 2007
Lismore, on the state’s Far North Coast was hit 9 October, by hail the size of tennis balls. It was the second day that severe thunderstorms and hail caused havoc in the northeast of the state. Windows and skylights at the local police station were smashed and an its vehicles suffered major damage, police reported. Several car crashes were also reported, along with a tree falling on a car and a skylight at the hospital smashing, exposing wards to rain, reported The Daily Telegraph, (10/10/2007), p. 13.
Canberra may be hit by bushfires, on same scale as 2003 inferno, every eight years by 2050, says CSIRO climate-change study
Posted by waterweek on 3 October 2007
Canberra could be hit by catastrophic bushfires on the same scale as the 2003 inferno every eight years by 2050, according to a new study on the impacts of climate change, reported The Canberra Times (27/9/2007, p.3).
Torrential rain hits 18 normally driest countries in Africa: 1.5m people affected; linked to ocean temp-rise
Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007
Months of torrential rain devastated 18 of the poorest and normally driest countries in Africa, and meteorologists expected more of the same, reported The Age (21/9/2007, p.11).
Arctic ice cap collapses; area twice as big as Britain gone in one week alone: northwest passage fully navigable
Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007
The Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this northern summer and levels of sea ice in the region now stand at a record low, scientists said yesterday. Experts said they were “stunned” by the loss of ice, with an area almost twice as big as Britain disappearing in the last week alone. So much ice has melted this northern summer that the northwest passage across the top of Canada is fully navigable, and observers say the north-east passage along Russia’s Arctic coast could open later this month, reported The Canberra Times, (6/9/2007, p.15).
SA farmers pre-sell crop; told – at $200 per tonne, forward sell; one sold 3,000 tonnes barley at $200; price now $370, no water, no barley, he’s bankrupt
Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007
Ivan Venning, Member for Schubert, told the House of Assembly, South Australia, 11 September 2007 said the drought was so severe “.. we are already seeing foreclosures by many of the banks. To make matters worse, we have another anomaly, which is a most unusual situation of the washout of contracts”.
Farmers to pre-sold their crop for the first time; “It is not because of deregulation; but deregulation of our industries, particularly barley, has caused many farmers to pre-sell their crop for the first time. We are told by experts to get advice and, particularly with barley, if it gets to $200 per tonne to forward sell. I know of one farmer who forward sold 3 000 tonnes of his barley at $200 per tonne, and now will not grow a single grain.
Banks are refusing to finance: “ The problem is that the price of that barley today is $370. That farmer has to go and buy 3 000 tonnes of barley for that contract at $370, and it is washed out at $200. That is what is called a `washout’. You do not need to be much of a mathematician to see what that adds up to. That adds up to a massive amount of money plus, in some instances, there is a $40 per tonne penalty. That is horrific. To make it worse, the banks are refusing to finance these washouts.
Drought subsidies not enough: “EC funding is available to a lot of these farmers, but it will not save many of them because of the immensity of the problem. It also affects all other areas of agriculture, not just the grain growers I am involved with. It affects the viticulturalists, the grape growers, the graziers and the haymakers. It is affecting everybody across the whole board, including the rural communities that support them, particularly the agents and the machinery manufacturers. Everybody is involved, even cities such as Whyalla. It is affecting everybody”.
Reference: Ivan Venning, Member for Schubert, House of Assembly, South Australia, 11 September 2007.
Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007
The results of the CSIRO survey into the Warrego River, the first of a series on the basin, was alarming because it suggested that more developed river systems, like the Condamine-Balonne, will face serious problems, according to Asa Wahlquist in The Australian (8/9/2007, p.5).
Water extraction to be halved: By 2030, climate change and water use will see a 7 per cent reduction in the amount of water that flows out of the Warrego, in southwest Queensland, into the Darling. Water extraction would have to be halved on the second-least developed river in the basin for the Warrego’s water-sharing plan, which specifies 89 per cent of its flows should reach the Darling.
Less than 12GL of private water storage along Warrego: The Murray-Darling Basin Commission reports there is less than 12 gigalitres (billion litres) of private water storage built along the Warrego, compared with 1333GL on the Condamine-Balonne. In 2005-06, 25GL passed through Cunnamulla on the Warrego, while the total flow through St George, on the Balonne, was 123GL.
CSIRO report result of Water Summit: The CSIRO report includes the eight gigalitres of Warrego water that the Queensland Government intends auctioning off. The report was commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Water Summit last November and is the most comprehensive report of its kind undertaken by the organisation. The CSIRO assessed current water use, including the interaction between ground-water and surface water. It also estimated future water use, looking at the impact of climate change and future developments like plantations and farm dams that would reduce stream flow.
Climate models variation: Dr Hatton said the best estimate of the impact of climate change on the Warrego was that it would reduce river flows by 6 per cent in 2030, leading to 7 per cent less water flowing into the Darling River. “It is important to appreciate there is variation among the climate models.” He said the hydrology of the 137,000-hectare Yantabulla swamp, and the water holes along the Warrego had not been affected by current development.
Lowest inflow on record last year: Last year, inflows into the Murray were the lowest on record, just 1211GL, far below the average of 11,100GL Assistant federal Environment and Water Resources Minister John Cobb said the report “underlines the incredible variability of the system”. He said the federal Government was considering buying the eight gigalitres to be auctioned on the Warrego.
South Australia faces worst-case scenario: Murray irrigators told from 1 October, allocations increased from zero to 16 per cent if total Murray flows, above 1 500 gigalitres
Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007
The Minister for Water Security, House of Assembly, for South Australia, on 11 September 2007 said the predicted flow into South Australia under a range of scenarios was “the worst-case scenario: (a repeat of last year) where we will receive only around 800 to 900 gigalitres; under very dry conditions, which we would expect to exceed in nine out of 10 years, that is around 1 250; and, under average conditions (and there is only a 50:50 chance that this could occur), we might receive somewhere in the vicinity of 1 300 to 1 370 gigalitres”.
Only 913 gigalitres between three states: Kay Maywald (Minister for the River Murray) said the Murray-Darling Basin Commission had advised that, based on the end of August inflows, the volume available for states – above critical human needs was 913 gigalitres. This was revised up to 1 217 gigalitres on 4 September.
Emergency water-sharing plan: “On the basis of the drought water-sharing rules agreed by first ministers, the resources available to each of the states as at the end of August include:
South Australia for diversion, 120 gigalitres.“We set our diversion rate for 1 September based on an anticipated 102; we actually achieved at extra 18 gigalitres, which we have now applied to increasing allocations from 13 to 16. This year, South Australia will also receive 225 gigalitres of dilution flows at this stage. That is what we have in the bank, and we hope that it will be added to as more flows into the system;
New South Wales 120 gigalitres available for diversion; and
Victoria 435 gigalitres for diversion A small amount of 13 gigalitres has been set aside for the environment.
Water for irrigation if flows exceed 1 500 gigalitres: Maywald, said River Murray irrigators that from 1 October licence holders will have their allocations increased to 16 per cent. This is early advice to assist them with their planning. That water is currently in the bank and now available to us to allocate as a consequence of the end of August data assessment. However, for us to improve that for 1 October, we have to see total inflows into the River Murray system exceed 1 500 gigalitres. That is an important figure for South Australian irrigators, because we cannot increase our allocations to South Australian River Murray irrigators until we have exceeded that 1 500 gigalitre target”.
Reference: Hon. K.A. Maywald, Minister for Water Security, House of Assembly, South Australia, 11 September 2007
Posted by waterweek on 14 September 2007
Bureau of Meteorology national climate centre chief Michael Coughlan said hopes were fading fast for desperately needed rains, reported The Age (7/9/2007, p. 4).
Food prices tipped to rise: “Is this drought over? Certainly not — we can’t predict when this drought will end,” Dr Coughlan said. Murray Darling Basin Commission chief executive Wendy Craik said irrigators on the Murray River, including many Victorian citrus growers and dairy farmers, faced their worst ever summer. Fresh produce would be hit and food prices would probably rise, Dr Craik warned.
Over half all agricultural land drought-declared: The experts were at a drought briefing in Melbourne organised by the Australian Science Media Centre. More than half of Australia’s agricultural land, including all of Victoria’s, is now drought-declared, costing the Federal Government $1.8 billion so far. Exceptional circumstances funding for many areas will run out in March next year. But the Government may extend the emergency relief, Department of Agriculture drought manager Matt Koval said. That would mean spending hundreds of millions of dollars extra to bail out farmers.
The Age, 7/9/2007, p. 4